Beyond Sourcing on Social Networks: Finally!

Wed, 19 December 2007, 4:36 pm

Scott Allen guest blogged at Six Degrees from Dave the other day about 15 Creative Ways Recruiters Can Use Professional Networking Sites.

The way I see it, any hack can figure out how to type a few keywords and do a search — where it gets really interesting is in all the other things you can use the tools for to grow your business, attract more candidates and differentiate yourself from the thousands of other recruiters out there.

I’m happy that someone is turning the conversation about social networking away from “Does it have better candidates than Monster?” discussions, and its close cousin “How can I use Social networks as background checks?”. I tried 3 years ago to articulate what recruiting would be like when online professional networks became commonplace. I wasn’t smart enough at the time to predict exactly how Linkedin, Facebook, etc could change the dynamic within the recruiting process.

Unfortunately, the media messages and recruitment industry discussion of social networking sites often support these simple questions.

I’m interested in the use of social networking to provide maximum value to candidates. Along those lines, I support the following:

  1. Recruiter profiles should be detailed and specific. The ‘mystery recruiter’ will be increasingly unable to compete against those who have made public their professional and personal credentials. Within the first 5 seconds of any recruiter call, you have already been Googled. If you’ve been hiding from Social Networks, you’ll get the big **click**.
  2. Recruiters should prep candidates. Scott points out that you can send your candidates the profiles of hiring managers. Amen to that. If hiring managers want to know so much about candidates, the least they can do is let them peak into their backgrounds
  3. Recruiters should friend candidates when the time is right. Having a Friending protocol to determine when they should invite candidates to connect will be important. I personally think that right time is after an in-person interview, or a second phone screen. Of course open networkers think differently. Whatever the case, an invitation to a recruiter’s personal network after some rapport has been built is a nice way to say I value you.
  4. Recruiters should spread at least a little knowledge. Candidates should become incrementally smarter as a result of their relationship with a recruiter. A simple way to do this is for recruiters to share what they are learning about with candidates. They can use Del.icio.us or other social bookmarking tools instead of Internet Explorer favorites to save each everything they are reading about their industry. Then they can invite candidates to follow their feed. It’s not a blog, or actively maintained Facebook presence (which is far more time consuming) but at least candidates are deriving value from being connected online.

The time is definitely right to move recruitment away from using online social networks as purely another resume database, or sourcing engine. It is a game changer in bringing networking relationships to the forefront of people’s professional life.

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Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking
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